At the October 23 Council Work Session, Public Services Director Perry Eisenach presented a high-level overview of how a stormwater utility could be structured in the city.
The proposed utility would help pay for much needed capital improvements for stormwater management, help the City meet regulatory requirements and assist with paying for the ongoing maintenance of an aging stormwater drainage system. There are three major projects currently in the design phase that will help address stormwater issues at the following locations: Tevis Street/Valley Avenue, Hope Drive extension, and North Cameron Street. The City’s current capital improvement plan estimates that over $25 million in stormwater improvements are needed in the next 15 to 20 years.
Twenty-five other localities in Virginia have a stormwater utility and five others are working on implementing a utility. The residential rates vary throughout the state and range from $2-21 per month with the average being $6.09 per month. Staff is recommending that Council consider implementing a $5 rate for residential property and a corresponding rate for commercial properties based on the amount of impervious surface which would generate $1.1 million per year and pay for:
- an enhanced maintenance program with a dedicated staff and equipment
- capital improvements
- a cooperative program to eliminate sump pump discharges into sanitary sewer system which will reduce the surcharges in the City system during periods of wet weather
After further discussion, Council directed staff to return to a future work session with a draft ordinance and more information about how other Virginia localities have structured their programs.